On April 5, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona alleging Home Depot violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) by firing an employee because of his military service obligations. Brian Bailey, a California Army National Guardsman and department supervisor at Home Depot, worked at Home Depot for three years before Home Depot fired him on May 25, 2010.
The lawsuit claims that store managers in Flagstaff, Arizona wanted to remove Bailey from his supervisory position “because of the leave from work he required due to his military obligations.” DOJ lawyers ask that the court require Home Depot to reinstate Bailey and award him compensation for lost wages and benefits. In addition, DOJ lawyers ask that the court enjoin Home Depot from violating USERRA in the future.
Home Depot says they fired Bailey for performance reasons unrelated to his military service. They also claim that they provided Bailey with time off for military training when he requested it. In eight years, says the company, it has hired more than 60,000 veterans, and it has launched an effort with the Defense and Labor departments to hire veterans.
The Employment Law Group® law firm has an extensive veterans rights’ practice and has published a guide for protecting employees covered by USERRA entitled “Litigating Claims Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.”